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Old 06-10-2009, 10:29 PM
ozskywatcher (Paul)
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Advice sought re. first CCD camera

Hi all,

I am after advice for what camera to use with a (new)! Meade LX200ACF 10" tube assembly on at Skywatcher NEQ6 Pro mount. It will be coming with a f6.3 focal reducer.

My plan is to get into asteroid observing / hunting (I am aware of the small field of view issue) and I want to start collecting information on what camera to purchase. I will be using a Canon 1000D SLR as a starting point. I am assuming that it won't be suitable for 'proper' data collection and so I would need to get a 'proper' CCD camera.

I would appreciate advice on a first CCD camera. Ideally something not more than $2,000.

Many thanks,

Paul Floyd.
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Old 07-10-2009, 03:24 AM
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Tandum (Robin)
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Paul, the only new mono ccd I know of for under $2K is the meade DSI but it's not cooled. You might find a 2nd hand st7 or similar on http://www.astromart.com/. These are all small sensor cameras which is probably all you want.
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Old 07-10-2009, 06:27 AM
ozskywatcher (Paul)
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Mono or colour camera for asteroid hunting?

Your answer raises a question.

I have been looking at the BinTel site. They have a 6.1-megapixel CCD colour astro camera (Orion brand) for $2,200. My budget may be able to stretch to that.

Do I need to stick with a mono camera though if I want to submit accurate position reports for asteroids / comets though?

Many thanks,

Paul Floyd.



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Originally Posted by Tandum View Post
Paul, the only new mono ccd I know of for under $2K is the meade DSI but it's not cooled. You might find a 2nd hand st7 or similar on http://www.astromart.com/. These are all small sensor cameras which is probably all you want.
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  #4  
Old 07-10-2009, 06:38 AM
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[1ponders] (Paul)
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the chip is much smaller than the Orions, but I had an ATiK 16IC that was a great little camera. Wish I'd not sold it now as it's great for this type of work. Cooling wasn't regulated but rated at 30 below ambient
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Old 07-10-2009, 06:41 AM
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What aspects of asteroid observing are you going to concentrate on? Are you looking at astrometry or photometry?
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  #6  
Old 07-10-2009, 06:48 AM
ozskywatcher (Paul)
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Finding asteroids...?

Astrometry.

I really want to try my hand at discovering something! (An asteroid or comet or....) I have been reading about it for years, and am now in a position to give it a go.

Paul.



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What aspects of asteroid observing are you going to concentrate on? Are you looking at astrometry or photometry?
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  #7  
Old 07-10-2009, 07:00 AM
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Ok well the ATiK will certainly do that, but you'll have a small field of view. There's no reason you cant find a comet with your canon. Terry Lovejoy has discovered two (maybe more) using a Canon DSLR and lens. Asteroids though could be a challenge, you will need to go fairly deep so the canon probably won't do there. You may be better off looking for a second hand SBIG or similar.
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Old 07-10-2009, 07:02 AM
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something like this perhaps
http://www.optcorp.com/product.aspx?...-8198&kw=&st=0

but a bigger chip would certainly help. Along with a 3.3 FR to give a wider field of view
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  #9  
Old 07-10-2009, 07:07 AM
ozskywatcher (Paul)
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Colour or mono?

Paul,

The reading I have been doing on the web doesn't mention if cameras have to be mono to produce accurate positions.

I have in the back of my mind that you can buy a 6.1 megapixel colour Orion CCD camera from Bintel for $2,200. That is alot more pixels for the money than other cameras.

Any thoughts?

Paul Floyd.




Quote:
Originally Posted by [1ponders] View Post
Ok well the ATiK will certainly do that, but you'll have a small field of view. There's no reason you cant find a comet with your canon. Terry Lovejoy has discovered two (maybe more) using a Canon DSLR and lens. Asteroids though could be a challenge, you will need to go fairly deep so the canon probably won't do there. You may be better off looking for a second hand SBIG or similar.
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  #10  
Old 07-10-2009, 07:16 AM
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You can with a colour, but it won't be a sensitive, the resolution won't be as good, and generally colour doesn't have as high QE. Mono is definitely the preferred way to go. Have a look at what Dennis does with the moons of Uranus and Neptune. That's the sort of gear that would help you succeed. You can do it with colour, but your success may be greater with mono
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  #11  
Old 07-10-2009, 07:24 AM
ozskywatcher (Paul)
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Orion mono-camera?

Paul,

The most affordable mono CCD camera I seem to have come across is the Orion StarShoot Deep Space Monochrome Imager III.

The blurb on the website says that it lists for US $1500 and has a 2/3" format Sony ICX285AL CCD with an 1360x1024 pixel array.

http://www.telescope.com/control/pro...oduct_id=52076

Have you (or anyone else reading this) heard if that camera is worth saving for?

Thanks for the quick answers by the way.

Paul.

Quote:
Originally Posted by [1ponders] View Post
You can with a colour, but it won't be a sensitive, the resolution won't be as good, and generally colour doesn't have as high QE. Mono is definitely the preferred way to go. Have a look at what Dennis does with the moons of Uranus and Neptune. That's the sort of gear that would help you succeed. You can do it with colour, but your success may be greater with mono
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  #12  
Old 07-10-2009, 09:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ozskywatcher View Post
Paul,

The most affordable mono CCD camera I seem to have come across is the Orion StarShoot Deep Space Monochrome Imager III.

The blurb on the website says that it lists for US $1500 and has a 2/3" format Sony ICX285AL CCD with an 1360x1024 pixel array.
I quite like my Atik 16ic. It has a similar FOV on an ST80 to a QHY8 on a C8.

Andrews are Atik importers. They have the Atik 314L+ which uses the same ICX285AL chip as the Orion - but it's listed for $2999. Details at http://www.atik-instruments.com/html/atik_314l_.html

Andrews might still have stock of the cheaper 314L which is the same camera but doesn't have adjustable set point temperatures.

They also have the $1499 16ic-s but that uses the ICX415AL and is only 782x582. http://www.atik-instruments.com/html/atik_16ic-s.html
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  #13  
Old 07-10-2009, 11:11 AM
ozskywatcher (Paul)
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Thanks

Andrew,

Thanks for that information.

I was wondering if you had any experience with Andrews in terms of buying CCD cameras off them? I have bought two dobsonians off them in the past and found them helpful. I can see the potential for a lot more to go wrong with something electronic and would want to know the dealer knew about the product.

Regards,

Paul Floyd.


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Originally Posted by mithrandir View Post
I quite like my Atik 16ic. It has a similar FOV on an ST80 to a QHY8 on a C8.

Andrews are Atik importers. They have the Atik 314L+ which uses the same ICX285AL chip as the Orion - but it's listed for $2999. Details at http://www.atik-instruments.com/html/atik_314l_.html

Andrews might still have stock of the cheaper 314L which is the same camera but doesn't have adjustable set point temperatures.

They also have the $1499 16ic-s but that uses the ICX415AL and is only 782x582. http://www.atik-instruments.com/html/atik_16ic-s.html
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Old 07-10-2009, 03:37 PM
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Paul

I have just embarked on the same exercise. I looked at the Atik and QHYs - he mono is defintely the go.

In the end, I decided to kick off with a DSI II Pro - it has a small chip and so isn't that wide but it fits reasonably well with my SN 8 inch.

I had heard from Bintel that the Orion DSI mono was on its way. It looks like a good option

Pete
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Old 07-10-2009, 04:47 PM
ozskywatcher (Paul)
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Price of Orion DSI mono?

Pete,

Good to hear from you.

Did Bintel give you an indication of the price? I was tempted to ring them and ask but I figure they need a bit of a rest from me.

Regards,

Paul Floyd.



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Paul

I have just embarked on the same exercise. I looked at the Atik and QHYs - he mono is defintely the go.

In the end, I decided to kick off with a DSI II Pro - it has a small chip and so isn't that wide but it fits reasonably well with my SN 8 inch.

I had heard from Bintel that the Orion DSI mono was on its way. It looks like a good option

Pete
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Old 07-10-2009, 04:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ozskywatcher View Post
Andrew,

Thanks for that information.

I was wondering if you had any experience with Andrews in terms of buying CCD cameras off them?
I bought my C8+ASGT and the Atik 16ic from them. My QHY8 (still to find time to get the hang of it) came from another IISer.

One of my friends bought a mono 314L and electric filter wheel from Andrews too after I showed him the blurb on it.

No complaints so far. If you go to the shop, they are usually happy to discuss. If it's quiet Lee could talk the leg off an iron pot.
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Old 08-10-2009, 10:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ozskywatcher View Post
Pete,

Good to hear from you.

Did Bintel give you an indication of the price? I was tempted to ring them and ask but I figure they need a bit of a rest from me.

Regards,

Paul Floyd.
Paul,

they were expecting it around $2.5k but had yet to get any meaningful data on it when I spoke with young Michael a couple of months back.

Give em a call - they love calls from customers.

Pete
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  #18  
Old 08-10-2009, 10:32 AM
ozskywatcher (Paul)
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:-)

I just spent $6,000 with them a couple of days ago via a phone call so they should enjoy mine.



Quote:
Originally Posted by pvelez View Post
Paul,

they were expecting it around $2.5k but had yet to get any meaningful data on it when I spoke with young Michael a couple of months back.

Give em a call - they love calls from customers.

Pete
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  #19  
Old 08-10-2009, 11:53 AM
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If your aim is asteroid searches with a relatively long focal length scope you need a very sensitive camera with relatively big pixels.
This would preclude almost all colour cameras as they all have small pixels that are not very sensitive.
The ideal camera would be an SBIG STL1001E but this is mega bucks.
Cheaper but with a smaller field would be an ST9E. It has 20um pixels that are very sensitive. It isn't much chop for pretty pictures due to the array only being 512x512 but great for photometry or astronomy.
I have an old parallel version of this camera that I will be selling in the near future. Someone else may also have one around that you might pick up for under $1000.
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  #20  
Old 09-10-2009, 09:09 AM
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Cooled, mono with a Sony HAD chip this unit is sensitive, bordeline budgetwise and the chipis small (you will need to use the FR) but the AUD rate at the moment might just put this in your range:

http://www.opticstar.com/Run/Astrono...=0_10_0_50_210

If not there are lesser models available...
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